Burundi Coffee, Tea Authorities Prepare To Divert Large Proportion Of Produce To Russia

Burundi Coffee, Tea Authorities Prepare to Divert Large Proportion of Produce to Russia

Burundi expects to start exporting a significant portion of the tea and coffee that it produces to Russia, simultaneously exploring the potential that improved economic relations between both countries hold, representatives of the African country's coffee and tea authorities told Sputnik on Friday

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 15th March, 2019) Burundi expects to start exporting a significant portion of the tea and coffee that it produces to Russia, simultaneously exploring the potential that improved economic relations between both countries hold, representatives of the African country's coffee and tea authorities told Sputnik on Friday.

A delegation from the coffee and tea authorities is on a visit to Russia between Tuesday and Sunday, to make initial contacts with interested parties in Russia and to provide Russian consumers with a taste of the products that they seek to bring into the country.

Russia To Receive Majority Of Burundi's Tea

Leopold Nahawenimana, the administrative and financial director with the Burundi Tea Authority, told Sputnik that Burundi will divert more than half of the tea it produces for direct sales to Russia.

"The market of Burundi - now we have the market of Mombasa [tea auction in Kenya], which has 75 percent and we are searching how to modify this percentage for direct sales and we are going to divert some volume for Russia and we are planning to moving from 75 percent to 20 percent and 55 percent will be direct sales especially in Russia," Nahawenimana said.

According to the Ethical Tea Partnership, tea is Burundi's second most exported commodity after coffee and is vital for the economy.

Nahawenimana added that the state of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and the potential to reach a wide market has made Russia a good trade partner for Burundi.

"We have chosen the Russian market because first of all Russia is a good country. We have considered the diplomacy between Burundi and Russia, and Russia is a country which has many people. That is why the tea of Burundi can find a market here," Nahawenimana said.

Nahawenimana stated that the Tea Authority relied on the support of Burundi's embassy in Russia to facilitate a smooth entrance of the country's products onto the Russian market.

According to Nahawenimana the tea that will be supplied from these factories will be both green and black - with the authority hoping to export one type of green tea and four categories of black tea to Russia.

The Burundi Tea Authority manages five factories, from which the country will provide the tea sold to Russia. The factories are located in the provinces of Teza, Rwegura, Tora, Ijenda and Buhoro, where the appropriate conditions of high rainfall are observed.

Burundi's Coffee Will Flood Russian Market

Jeremie Ndikumana, the chief of the economic and promotion service at the regulatory authority of the Burundi Coffee Sector, told Sputnik that the country was willing to divert as much of its coffee to Russia as necessary due to excess supplies still in the country.

"We have a quantity of coffee that is unsold, that is still in Burundi - so if Russia wants to take all the [coffee produced] in Burundi, it is welcome," Ndikumana said.

Ndikumana stated that initially the Coffee Authority would focus on exhibiting Burundi's coffee to acquaint the Russian market with it.

"About the promotional activities that we plan to do - it is just to exhibit. Normally we do exhibitions of coffee around the world and now since we have a positive relationship between Burundi and Russia, we plan to penetrate Russia with coffee," Ndikumana said.

The ambassador of Burundi to Russia, Edouard Bizimana, told Sputnik that the first exhibition in which the country's Coffee and Tea Authorities would exhibit and distribute their products would take place in September.

Ndikumana added that after limited success in exhibitions in the United States, Burundi would use additional efforts to reach Russian consumers and distributors.

Burundi plans to export Arabica Bourbon to Russia, of the "highest quality," according to Ndikumana. The coffee is grown on plantations located at a height of 1,900 meters. This includes the provinces of Ngozi, Kirimiro and Imbo - a region surrounding the Lake Tanganyika.

Tea, Coffee Are First Steps For Trade

Bizimana stated that coffee and tea were only the first of Burundi's products that the country sought to bring to Russia.

"It's a first step and I think apart from tea and coffee there are also other products that will be interesting for Russia... Coffee and tea, we are assisting on this produce because they are less perishable than fresh fruits because a container may take three months to reach Russia," Bizimana said.

Bizimana added that the positive development of relations between Russia and Burundi, specifically modifications to the visa regime would result in an increase in business contacts that could be made between the two countries.

"Last time we signed the agreement of visa exemptions for people who travel on diplomatic and service passports... This helps people to move freely and I think what we emphasize on now is to try to eliminate all kinds of barriers that may exist to allow the movements of goods to flow easily," Bizimana said.

According to the ambassador, the economic relations between Burundi and Russia had only been established in the last three years, but they exhibited a positive growth trajectory.

Previously in an interview with Sputnik, Bizimana remarked that Burundi sought economic relations with Russia to be escalated to the high level of political cooperation between the countries.

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